The four types of color schemes and how they look

In order to practically interpret the four types of color schemes, you will need a color wheel as a guide. All the color schemes are made up of color combinations from the color wheel.

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The monochromatic color scheme is the use of tone on tone of the same color with the addition of white or black to lighten or darken the color. For example, in this scheme blue can become a pale sky blue or a dark midnight blue and all three hues of the same shade are used to create this effect.


The contrasting scheme is more dramatic. Here a triad of contrasting colors on the color wheel are used, such as yellow-orange, green-blue and red-purple.


The analogous scheme uses colors that appear next to each other on the color wheel. For example yellow will be used with green or orange, or blue will be used with green or purple.


The complementary scheme is where two opposing colors, such as blue and orange, are used together to create a dramatic, bold and high energy color scheme.